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ConnectWise IT Nation Connect 2022 Live Blog: MSP News and Analysis

Credit: Rosen Shingle Creek
Jason Magee, CEO, ConnectWise
Jason Magee, CEO, ConnectWise

ConnectWise IT Nation Connect 2022 continues in Orlando, Florida. Thousands of MSP attendees are on-hand despite a brief threat from Hurricane Nicole, which ultimately had minimal impact in the Orlando area.

The conference has 4,700 registered attendees, and roughly half of those are new attendees, the company said. Chatter at the event involves a heavy dose of MSP M&A, private equity, automation and cybersecurity developments.

Note: Got IT Nation news to share? Please email me the details ([email protected]) and keep checking this blog for multiple daily updates through the end of Friday, November 11.

Here's the action so far...

ConnectWise IT Nation Connect 2022: Day Two Recap

25. No Process Under Way: Despite some speculation in the market, Thoma Bravo and ConnectWise are not in the market shopping the software company to potential buyers, CEO Jason Magee told ChannelE2E.

24. There Is No MSP Recession: That's the message from Peter Kujawa, vice president of Service Leadership -- the MSP benchmarking arm of ConnectWise. Kujawa says Q3 2022 research shows the MSP sector is not in a recession. Still, that doesn't mean the rising managed services tide is lifting all boats. Among the areas of concern: More than 25% of MSPs are losing money, Service Leadership indicates. In stark contrast, the top quartile of MSPs are generating EBITDA profit margins of at least 18%, Kujawa told conference attendees.

Abe Garver, Focus Investment Banking

23. MSP M&A Trend: More and more MSP owners are seeking a first and second bite of the M&A apple. How so? The trend involves MSP owners selling their businesses, and then rolling some of those proceeds into the buyer's organization, according to Abe Garver, who leads the MSP Team at FOCUS Investment Banking, a lower middle market investment bank by Axial.

Amy Kardel, CompTIA
Pete Sorensen, ConnectWise

22. Closing the MSP Talent Gap - Part One: ConnectWise and CompTIA unveiled Ticket to Tech, which essentially creates a talent supply chain that can prepare and route skilled job candidates to MSPs with job openings and apprenticeship opportunities. Ticket to Tech students will prepare for the CompTIA A+ certification exam and train on the ConnectWise Manage platform. The 17-week program also includes career readiness skills, including LinkedIn and social media lessons, mock interviews and resume assistance. ConnectWise VP Pete Sorensen and CompTIA Senior VP Amy Kardel are driving the initiative.

Dave Cava, Encore Technologies

21. Closing the MSP Talent Gap - Part Two: On a separate but related note, former MSP owner Dave Cava is on hand describing how Encore Technologies can help MSPs to hire, retain and mentor Level 1 tech support professionals who rise to become Level 2 and Level 3 experts and more.

20. Startups to Know: AlertOps won the PitchIT Accelerator Program competition, followed by Vonahi Security and Humanize IT.

Dave Sobel, MSP Radio

19. Dave Sobel's Perspectives: Former MSP owner and N-able veteran Dave Sobel is on-site at the conference, sharing his MSP Radio perspectives during the IT Nation Newscast.

18. ConnectWise Expands Cybersecurity Solutions for MSPs: New capabilities announced at the show include ConnectWise Vulnerability Management; SASE by ConnectWise and Exium; and IAM by ConnectWise and Evo.

ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee's Keynote

ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee

17. Distribution Partnership: ConnectWise is partnering with Arrow ECS. There are some major automation integrations for MSPs. In some ways, I wonder if the ConnectWise-Arrow ECS integrations counter Ingram Micro's ownership of CloudBlue...

16. Magee's Keynote covered the economic trends, ecosystem trends and technology trends that MSPs need to keep in mind. Similar to N-able CEO John Pagliuca's recent messaging, Magee urged MSPs to transform potential business headwinds into tailwinds.

Among the examples Magee mentioned: Instead of worrying about a potential economic slowdown, MSPs should focus on the massive SMB and micro-business opportunity. Off-stage, the Service Leadership team is assuring MSPs that the solution provider market is not in a recession, based on Q3 research from the ConnectWise-owned organization.

15. Where to Focus for Future Success: Magee pointed to the opportunities involving (1) relentless automation, (2) put data to work, (3) exceptional customer experience and (4) focus on cybersecurity.

Craig Fulton, chief customer officer, ConnectWise
Amy Lucia, CMO, ConnectWise
Patrick Beggs, CISO, ConnectWise

14. CXOs Shares More Details: Then, Chief Customer Officer Craig Fulton, Chief Marketing Officer Amy Lucia and CISO Patrick Beggs did a deeper dive on each one of those four areas.

13. Future Success Tip One - Focus on Relentless Automation...

12. Future Success Tip Two - Put Data to Work for You

11. Future Success Tip Three - Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

10. Future Success Tip 4: Focus on Cybersecurity

ConnectWise IT Nation Connect 2022 - Day One Recap

9. Endpoint Security: PC Matic is introducing an Invent-certified application allowlisting integration to the ConnectWise marketplace for both Automate and Manage customers.

8. Closing the MSP Talent Gap: How can MSPs find the right talent -- including talent that's already trained to understand the IT services market? I suspect we might get some newly updated answers later today (November 9). What's potentially on the way? Hmmm... how about a talent building supply chain? Stay tuned...

7. ConnectWise Software Platforms - Asio Update?: The 2021 event focused on Asio (pronounced A-Zee-Ohh) — a unified platform that provides a more modern software foundation for future ConnectWise software development projects. The first product to run atop Asio is ConnectWise RMM, which is positioned as the next generation of ConnectWise Automate. We're mot sure the new RMM -- built atop Asio -- is performing so far with MSPs. Also, we don't know when ConnectWise Manage -- the professional services automation platform -- will move to an Asio code base. We'll be poking around for answers to those Asio questions and more.

6. MSP Software Startups: Three startups -- AlertOps, HumanizeIT and Vonahi Security are finalists in the PitchIT competition -- which is somewhat similar to Shark Tank. Each finalist will present their solutions on center stage to the live audience and expert panel of judges for a chance to win $70,000.

5. Automated Penetration Testing: Vonahi Security now integrates with ConnectWise Manage.

4. Rob Rae is On-Site: Former Kaseya and Datto executive Rob Rae is on-site at the conference. Yada, yada, yada. Stay tuned.

Jason Magee, CEO, ConnectWise
Jason Magee, CEO, ConnectWise

3. ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee: ChannelE2E caught some extensive time with ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee at the Rosen Shingle Creek on November 8. It wasn't an interview. Instead, we compared notes on life and the industry. Magee appeared to be relaxed while mingling with scores of MSPs at the on-site bar. It's a safe bet his keynote will help MSPs to further understand the current economic climate along with potential opportunities and challenges.

2. ConnectWise Prepping for Potential Business Sale?: Let's not get ahead of ourselves. I could be wrong, but I don't expect massive M&A news here at the conference. If I had to make an educated guess, I think private equity firm Thoma Bravo may look to sell ConnectWise sometime in 2023. I don't expect big technology companies (i.e., Microsoft, Cisco, HPE, etc.) to bid on ConnectWise. Instead, I suspect additional private equity firms will give the business a look. Among the names to potentially know: KKR and Bain Capital. But to be clear: That's just my speculation. And I did not discuss my speculation with Magee when we connected informally on November 8.

1. Got IT Nation News or Gossip to Share?: Please email me the details ([email protected]) and keep checking this blog for multiple daily updates through the end of Friday, November 11.

Note: Blog originally published at 11:25 a.m. ET on November 9, 2022. Updated regularly thereafter. 

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.